Certain infections/diseases in BC are what are called reportable diseases. This means if the testing lab gets a positive result they have to report the disease to the public health agency that is responsible for the follow up of that disease/infection.
Reportable diseases are generally communicable diseases, which mean you can get this disease from someone or something else. Public health is interested in doing follow up so they can reduce the chance of the infection/disease passing to someone else. For example Hepatitis A is a reportable disease and if public health saw an increase in hepatitis A cases in a particular area they would be able to see what is causing the problem and do some interventions to reduce the chance of it spreading. Such as by discovering if there is a source such as contaminated food, offer hepatitis A vaccines etc… Some examples of reportable diseases are mumps, measles, rabies, polio etc….
Certain sexually transmitted infections (STI) are also reportable. This includes ones like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and Hepatitis B. This means if a testing lab gets a positive result for one of these infections they send a report to the BC centre for disease control (BCCDC). The health care professionals at the BCCDC just want to make sure the person has been able to get medical follow up e.g. treatment and if the person needs any assistance in getting in touch with past sexual partners.
Most STI do not show symptoms so we recommend getting in touch with past sexual partners as in many situations the person is unaware they have an STI. Often the health professional that did the original test will do the follow up so there is no need for the BCCDC nurse to contact the client.
We realize that dealing with an STI is a very sensitive topic. All the information that is provided to us is kept confidential.
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